Do Right-to-Carry Laws Lead to Increase in Violent Crime?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Contrary to the claims of gun rights advocates, expanding the right to carry firearms in public does not make society a safer place, according to a new university study.


Researchers at Stanford and Johns Hopkins say in the new study that right-to-carry gun laws may increase incidents of violent crime.


Since the 1990s, pro-gun groups have argued that increasing the presence of handguns discourages criminal behavior. This position helped encourage the adoption of concealed firearms laws in all 50 states.


But Stanford law Professor John J. Donohue III, Stanford law student Abhay Aneja and doctoral student Alexandria Zhang from Johns Hopkins say data compiled by the National Research Council (NRC) from 1999 to 2010 revealed aggravated assault increased about 8% because of right-to-carry laws. The researchers believe that estimate may in fact be low. Donohue pointed out that “different statistical models” show a 33% increase in firearm-related assaults following passage of those laws.


The study also showed that the murder rate increased in eight states that passed right-to-carry laws during those years.


Further, “the totality of the evidence based on educated judgments about the best statistical models suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates” of aggravated assault, rape, robbery and murder, Donohue said.


One member of the NRC academic panel interpreted the collected data as showing that murder rates actually increased as a result of the implementation of right-to-carry laws, but the other 15 members disputed that opinion and supported the majority finding.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Right-To-Carry Gun Laws Linked To Increase in Violent Crime, Stanford Research Shows (by Clifton Parker, Stanford University)

The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy (by Abhay Aneja, John J. Donohue III and Alexandria Zhang)

More Guns, More Crime: New Research Debunks a Central Thesis of The Gun Rights Movement (by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post)


anonamouse 9 years ago
I am not a gun owner. When my state began permitting concealed carry back in the '90s, I fully expected "road rage" --- then a major news meme --- to turn deadly. I strongly opposed the move. To my great surprise, it never happened: there were no shootings among motorists that I am aware of, although guns were brandished on occasion. .... My take away from this article is, if you need a "study" to find out whether something is happening or not, it probably isn't. What we do know, what is hard fact, is that violent crime rates have been falling for decades. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the availability or non-availability of firearms. Must be something in the water ...

Leave a comment